Welcome!

This blog was inspired by 31 for 21 & is about my wonderful family.

"As a mother, my job is to take care of what is possible & trust God with the impossible." ~Ruth Bell Graham

"Never look down on someone, unless you're helping them up!"

Monday, June 25, 2012

Forgiveness

In Sunday School this week, my fabulous teacher was speaking about forgiveness.  It got me to thinking.  I really am not a very forgiving person.  I do hold grudges with a tight fist.  I need to remedy that & be a better example for my kids.  I've had many people hurt me in the past, as I have also hurt others.  I have forgiven, to an extent.  I have also been forgiven, by some.  Instead of forgiving, I have 'moved on', for lack of a better term.  I have let go of the anger, but not the offense.  But, I have to also let go....that is what I'm doing wrong.  For example:  say someone doesn't come to an IMPORTANT event, I have let the anger go & spoke to the person as if it didn't happen, but I hold on to the fact that they didn't come...I keep it in the back of my mind.  I have learned from the scripture that I am SO wrong for that.  I need to speak up.  I need to tell them how that made me mad & see if they ask for forgiveness.  Then, forgive & FORGET when asked for forgiveness.  BUT, I have often wondered, what happens if we are wronged and the person does NOT admit wrong, or does not apologize, and/or does not turn away from the behavior? Are we required to forgive? Here is an interesting passage that deals with this very issue:
“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17)
Here, Jesus lays out the ground rules for when someone wrongs us & does not apologize or change their ways. It is obvious that Jesus wants us to do everything possible to make this person repent. We are to speak to them alone, then with a couple of friends/church members, & if that doesn’t work, to talk to the entire church. If even that doesn’t work, we have an interesting command: Treat them as you would treat a gentile & tax collector.  At this point in the bible, Jesus’ message was very clear. The Jews hated gentiles & tax collectors, & looked at them as thieves & pagans. They avoided them as much as possible. Therefore, Jesus is quite clearly telling us that if a person absolutely refuses our reaching out to them, & they do not apologize AND turn away from the activity after all efforts have been made, at that point we may avoid that person.
Of course, should that person every truly repented, I am sure Christ would want us to welcome them back into our lives. We don’t necessarily have to spend our time with them, or be their best friends, but we are required to forgive them. Here is another interesting verse:
“Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.” ( Luke 17:4)
Notice here again we see that if someone asks for our forgiveness, we must give it. Even if they wronged us 7 times per day. We must forgive openly. But, notice also that he says “& asks for forgiveness,” which indicates, like the above verse, that if they refuse to apologize or repent, we do not have to reconcile with them.
That doesn’t mean that we should hold a grudge, or treat them hatefully. All it means is that we must forgive when people wrong us, & if they repent, then we have the opportunity to continue a relationship with that person (if we desire). If they do not repent, then we should still love them, pray for them, & forgive them (for our sake & for God), but we do not necessarily have to maintain a relationship. In fact, it may be necessary to “treat them as a tax collector or pagan” in terms of avoiding contact.
In my life, I have some people who I have tried to forgive, but have not ONCE asked for forgiveness.  They are always coming up with some excuse to be mad at me or my family.  Oh, you did this 5 years ago & I'm hurt.  Get over it!  I apologized, even though I don't even remember saying what I was accused of saying (for Heaven's sake, I was very sick & on medication...I don't remember most days for almost 3 years) several times!  And they act like they've never hurt me or my family & have never apologized for wrongs they've done to me.  I've tried.  I've called, emailed, went to their house & they've made it perfectly clear that they want no part of my life or my family's life.  Therefore, I have made a cognitive decision.  They are 'tax collectors' to me.  I have forgiven them for all of their many wrongs in my heart.  I've handed it over to God....that's all I can do.  It's just sad & pitiful...we're all adults here, last time I checked.  It's high time we act like it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Heart mom

     On this day, 3 years ago, our lives hung in the balance...well that was the plan.  It was the day that our precious Troy was set to have his surgery to repair the defects in his heart.  But, on our way home from pre-op, we received the call that his surgery had to be bumped to the next morning due to an emergency with another child.  I had waited for this surgery, yet dreaded it, for many months & now we had to put it off another day.  I was upset, yet relieved.  I began to pray for the child who needed to take my Troy's slot that day & I suppose I'll always wonder how that surgery turned out.  Because as a heart mom, I will always be connected to other heart moms & their warriors.  I will always pray for them all...I know how they feel & I know it's my job to try to help out the only way I know how.  If you are a heart mom or dad, I am sure you understand.  You know the feeling you get when you hear a child is having an OHS & the parents ask for prayers...you know that feeling when you hear that a child has a heart defect.  Some people receive the miracle they seek, some don't.  I don't know God's plans & can't explain why some families are able to rejoice, while others are left to mourn.  I do know that sometimes God's plan for healing doesn't mean that the child is healed on Earth....sometimes their healing means they get a one way trip to heaven.  I can't even begin to imagine the pain & I never want to experience it either.  I do know that God sure blessed us by giving us our miracle, not once, not twice, but three times so far.  How we got so lucky, I'll never understand, but I sure am grateful to God for choosing my family to receive these blessings.  If you know me, you know my Troy's journey.  {If not, here's a brief synopsis.  He was born with complete AV canal defect (he was missing the center of his heart & he also had 2 tiny holes near the huge hole & his mitral & tricuspid valves were fused together) & he had that repaired on 6/12/09 ~1 day shy of being 5 months old.  He got very ill 2 months later & was rushed to CHOA @ Egleston.  They thought he had a severe tear in his mitral valve.  He coded right there in front of us...by the pure grace of God, his surgeon happened to be walking past his door at the moment they reported code blue & he came in Troy's room.  They bagged Troy & took him to the CICU.  We had not idea what was happening...if he was alive or not.  They had to put him on life support & he would receive another open heart surgery as soon as he was stable....this would fix him, we were told.  But he wasn't oxygenating on the vent, so he had to be put on the oscillator.  He was then stable enough for surgery, but it was too late that day...he'd be the first case the next morning.  We walked with him from the CICU to the OR doors...that was one of the hardest things I had to do, walk with my son, who was breathing only because the nurse was doing it for him, & hand him over to the surgeon once again.  Once the surgery was over, the doctor himself came into the waiting room...I looked at my husband & my heart sank.  I knew he was only there with bad news, & sure enough, he was.  He told us that Troy had infective endocarditis so bad that his mitral & tricuspid valves were just rotten...when he touched them, they fell apart...& since he was so small that there was no viable tissue to help rebuild them.  He said that Troy most likely would not survive...that he did the best he could.  But God had another plan.  Troy's heart healed itself.  But because it did, he has a ton of scar tissue, which is causing tricuspid stenosis (narrowing of the tricuspid valve).  He went into complete heart failure at 23 months old & had to have another heart surgery to open up that valve.  The surgery was a success, but it is a temporary fix.  The cardiologist expects that he'll need an artificial valve one day soon.  Until then we wait.}  I know that I have no right to ask God for another miracle, since he's given me so many, but I pray every day that Troy's heart will heal itself again so that he doesn't have to endure any further surgeries or procedures.  I'm not trying to be selfish, but I need him...I think I need him more than he needs me.  He has taught me so much & through this journey thus far, I've become much stronger & I have grown in my walk with God.  Again, I don't know why He chose us to receive this perfect child & why He has blessed us with his presence, but I sure am grateful He did.  In my eyes, Troy is one brave warrior.  He truly is a miracle.  He's one of my heroes.  He is a true blessing.  He is a brave little warrior who deserves to be respected, not ridiculed.  He fights everyday & has more determination than I've ever seen.  As I look back on the past 3 years, I am overjoyed at the blessings we've received & the obstacles Troy has overcome.  I will raise him to know how awesome God is & to thank Him each day for the work He has done & will do for him.  I know I have & will continue to as long as I live, then I will thank Him in person for eternity. 

♥ Happy almost 3rd, 1st OHS, (3 years, 1st OHS)  Troy!  And to the child who took Troy's surgery slot that day, happy heart day....I think of you often & pray all is well. ♥

Thursday, June 7, 2012

What are your thoughts?

     As I was reading the posts on facebook this morning, I came across one that I had to comment on.  Someone posted that it sickened her to read some of her friend's posts about the love of their lives being their spouse/boyfriend instead of their kids.  This was my comment to her: "Sorry, but I disagree. Without the love between you & your spouse, the children wouldn't exist. Plus, it tells us in the Bible that you are to love #1 God, #2 your spouse, #3 your kids. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids more than life itself...but one day your kids will be grown & will have kids of their own & all that's left in the house will be you & your spouse. :) "  Then she & a friend of hers began to bash me saying that I'm insane & to go bury a child first, then report back to her.  I was simply telling her the will of God, which is how we should all be living, & I get disrespected in such a manner!  I was floored...still am.  I love my husband & I love our kids.  Can't say that I love my husband more than my kids or vice versa because to me, it's a different kind of love.  I love Mack more than any man on this Earth...always have, always will,  I love Chancey, Troy, Mackenna, & our angels more than any other children on Earth & in Heaven...always have, always will.  I put their needs before any one's on Earth, even mine...that's they way I think God wants it to be.  The way I see it is this.  The love between my husband & I created these beautiful children, without our love, we wouldn't have these 3 perfect children.  Our kids are a part of him & me, equally.  One day, these kids will grow up, go to college, get married, & have kids of their own.  Which will leave me & my husband at home, with each other...no kids.  If we allow our kids to be first, what will we do when they leave?  Who am I to question God's word?  No, there's not a verse that tells us point blank "God first, spouse second, kids third" but if you've read the Bible, you can get it out of the text.  God was first.  He created man.  He created woman for man so he wouldn't be alone.  Then man & woman created children.  So, "God first, spouse second, kids third."  Maybe I'm wrong, but that's the way I see it.  What are your thoughts?